The silver-washed fritillary is one of our largest and most colourful butterflies and a strong flyer. My partner photographed this one on the edge of a woodland ride on a local common. We had stumbled on "butterfly corner": a crossroads in the woods with a small patch of grassy scrub at its centre, dancing with butterflies.
Common blue, male
This little patch was like a cloud of fluttering colours, constantly in motion. We spotted fritillaries, male and female common blues, a small copper and a handful of brown argos. Then we watched the entrancing courtship flight of silver-washed fritillaries, the female steaming straight ahead, chased by the male flying loops around her.
Why do we find butterflies so magical? Is it the colours, the delicate fluttering flight, or their ephemeral summer quality? Maybe all of these things. If only they could sing...